11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2019

Kevin Sandhu

Thanks to my friends at BetaKit, for the last three years I’ve had the opportunity to share my thoughts about some amazing Canadian technology companies that are helping to put our great country at the forefront of global innovation. Well, I’m a little late this year, but nonetheless, I’m going to keep this tradition going for 2019!

As always, it’s not easy to limit my list to just 11 companies, and by no means are these the only companies I’m excited about for this year. But here are some of the companies I’m looking forward to watching continue to grow, innovate, and make us all proud to be Canadian.



Pivot Furniture

Website www.pivotsubscriptions.com
Headquarters Saskatoon, SK
Year founded 2018
Capital raised N/A
Key People
  • Dan Simair, co-founder
  • Founded by the same team that led SkipTheDishes to a $110 million exit to Just Eat in 2016

Pivot provides consumers with a platform for on-demand furniture, challenging the traditional model of furniture ownership. Rather than paying for big-ticket furniture items upfront, Pivot allows you to easily subscribe to high quality furniture with delivery, assembly, and unlimited swaps or returns. The company is led by the same successful serial entrepreneurs who led SkipTheDishes to a successful 9-figure exit to Just Eat in 2016.



Website www.certn.co
Headquarters Victoria, BC
Year founded 2015
Capital raised $1M CAD
Key People
  • Andrew McLeod, C3O & co-founder
  • Evan Dalton, C3O & co-founder
  • Owen Madrick, C3O & co-founder
  • Raised seed financing in 2018 and quickly expanding operations
  • In September 2017, Certn won $10,000 at the BCIC-New Ventures competition in the top regional startup category.

Certn provides risk management tools for property managers and lenders to help predict consumer behaviour and minimize risks of default or non-payment. Using proprietary technology, the company is able to assess applicants’ behavioural profiles to determine creditworthiness more accurately than traditional models. Certn closed a seed financing round last year, with participation from Panache Ventures, iNovia and others, and is quickly scaling to meet the needs of an enormous industry that’s hungry for innovation.




Website www.clearbanc.com
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2015
Capital raised $200M CAD
Key People
  • Michele Romanow, President & co-founder
  • Andrew D’Souza, CEO & co-founder
  • Pavel Melnichuk, CTO & co-founder
  • Charlie Feng, co-founder
  • Raised $120 million to finance ecommerce businesses through a non-dilutive and flexible form of funding.
  • Led by serial entrepreneurs with exits under their belts, including SnapSaves (sold to Groupon).
  • Over four weeks in 2018, more than 1,000 companies had requested up to $1 billion in capital from the company.

Clearbanc has certainly not been quiet about its bold ambitions to help entrepreneurs and small business owners accelerate their growth in a financially savvy way. The company had not one, but two massive financing events during 2018 to round out a total of $200 million CAD in funding to help provide an alternative to traditional financing options for growing, online-enabled businesses. Clearbanc uses its proprietary technology to provide efficient, revenue-based financing to its small business customers.



Website www.avenuehq.com
Headquarters Vancouver, BC
Year founded 2013
Capital raised $8.2 million USD
Key People
  • Chris Troelstra, CEO & co-founder
  • Rebecca Troelstra, COO & co-founder
  • Formerly known as Realty Butler.
  • Raised over $4.5 million in new funding in 2018 and quickly growing its already 80-plus person team.
  • Recently expanded its platform to the US.

AvenueHQ provides marketing services for real estate professionals. The company builds and maintains websites and digital marketing assets for realty businesses, so realtors can focus on serving and growing their client base. Avenue says it’s able to save realtors countless hours of work every week by utilizing its team of marketers, engineers, and designers to provide best-in-class marketing capabilities in an easy-to-use turn-key offering.



Website www.dooly.ai
Headquarters Vancouver, BC
Year founded 2013
Capital raised $2 million CAD
Key People
  • Kris Hartvigsen, CEO & co-founder
  • Justin Vaillancourt, CTO & co-founder
  • Recently named G2 Crowd’s Sales High Performer for Winter 2019
  • Founders with Vancouver startup experience, with stints at Vision Critical and Mobify

Dooly helps sales professionals close deals faster with sales enablement software that adapts to their customers’ needs. Anyone that’s ever been caught mid-sales pitch without a response to a customer question knows just how valuable Dooly’s real-time playbook engine can be to help proactively answer even the toughest customer questions. Hartvigsen told BetaKit in 2018 that he came across this issue during his 10 years at Vision Critical, where he led several sales teams in roles like EVP of strategic alliances and general manager of products.



Website www.xanadu.ai
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2016
Capital raised $9 million CAD
Key People
  • Christian Weedbrook, CEO & founder

The company is on a mission to create the world’s first practical quantum computer.

Xanadu is a photonic quantum computing and advanced artificial intelligence company that designs and integrates quantum silicon photonic chips into existing hardware to create truly full-stack quantum computing. That’s a bit of a mouthful, but here’s what it boils down to: the company is on a mission to create the world’s first practical quantum computer. That achievement will hopefully help solve some of today’s toughest business problems significantly faster than ever previously imagined.


MindBridge AI

MindBridge AI

Website www.mindbridge.ai
Headquarters Ottawa, ON
Year founded 2015
Capital raised $15 million CAD
Key People
  • Solon Angel, founder & Chief Strategy Officer
  • Eli Fathi, CEO
  • Robin Grosset, CTO
  • Raised $8.4 million Series A in 2018 and rapidly scaling its AI powered auditing solution
  • Flagship product is the AI Auditor, which examines data for accountants and pinpoints entries that should be investigated.
  • Currently has over 125 customers in six countries.

MindBridge is bringing cutting-edge innovation to the unsung heroes of the financial auditing world. The company’s AI-powered auditing solutions are designed to augment human capacity to understand enormous amounts of financial data, reducing unintentional errors and intentional misstatements in financial transactions. Every year, huge sums of money are lost globally to these sorts of financial discrepancies and MindBridge is set on changing that using its proprietary technology.

RELATED: Outside Toronto: The Unsung Canadian Cities Leading AI Innovation




Website www.fispan.com
Headquarters Vancouver, BC
Year founded 2016
Capital raised $6 million CAD
Key People
  • Lisa Shields, CEO & co-founder
  • Clayton Weir, Strategy Lead & co-founder
  • Val Novikov, CTO & co-founder
  • Andrea Zand, Operations Lead & co-founder
  • CEO & co-founder Shields previously founded and led Hyperwallet to $400 million exit to PayPal
  • Raised $6 million CAD in funding at end of 2018.

FI.SPAN provides a new way for banks to serve their commercial clients. The company’s platform takes care of integrations with bank services, and provides a simple client experience via APIs and Native ERP adapters. Led by serial entrepreneur Lisa Shields, who previously founded and led Hyperwallet to a $400 million sale to PayPal, FI.SPAN recently closed a seed funding round as it continues to scale up across North America. If history is any indicator, I’m sure we’ll be seeing some great things from Lisa and her team throughout 2019.



Website www.klipfolio.com
Headquarters Ottawa, ON
Year founded 2001
Capital raised $19.4 million CAD
Key People
  • Allan Wille, co-founder
  • Owen Sagness, CEO
  • Peter Matthews, Chief Experience Officer & co-founder
  • Last round a $12 million Series B in 2017.
  • Owen Sagness replaced Allan Wille as CEO of Klipfolio in late 2018 after 17 years of leading the company.

Klipfolio provides real-time business dashboards to help teams make informed decisions based on real data, regardless of their technical skills or programming acumen. It will be interesting to see how the only Ottawa-based company on the Deloitte Fast 50 will proceed in 2019 under new leadership.


deep genomics

Deep Genomics

Website www.deepgenomics.com
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2014
Capital raised $21 million CAD
Key People
  • Brendan Frey, CEO & founder
  • Over the past 15 years, founder Brendan Frey has co-authored over 200 papers on machine learning and genome biology.
  • Last raised a $16 million Series A in September 2017.

Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat on my part. I already listed Deep Genomics last year as one of the Canadian tech companies to watch in 2018, but I am such a big fan of the company and its mission that I’m listing it again for 2019! Deep Genomics is using artificial intelligence to build a new universe of life-saving genetic therapies. The company believes that the future of medicine will rely on artificial intelligence, because biology is too complex for humans to understand. The company is backed by legendary Silicon Valley investors Khosla Ventures, and also counts Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield amongst its prestigious list of backers. I may have to add them again in 2020!



Website www.zoom.ai
Headquarters Toronto, ON
Year founded 2016
Capital raised $5.2 million CAD
Key People
  • Roy Pereira, CEO & founder
  • Led by repeat entrepreneur with exit experience (Shiny Ads, which sold to Rubicon Project).
  • Raised a $3.1 million seed extension in April 2018 to expand to Europe and the US.
  • Acquired natural language processing company SimplyInsight in September 2017.

Zoom.ai is looking to save all of us some precious time in the workday by providing a virtual assistant to offload and automate everyday tasks, including searching for files, scheduling meetings, and generating documents. The company does all of this with a convenient assistant that lives inside a chat platform and our existing inboxes. In the past two years, Zoom.ai has won awards, made acquisitions, and expanded its product. What awaits the AI startup in 2019?

Previous Canadian tech company to watch lists:

11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2018
10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2018
11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2017
10 Montreal tech companies to watch in 2017
11 Canadian tech companies to watch in 2016

Have a different Canadian tech company you think is one to watch in 2019? Post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Kevin Sandhu

Kevin Sandhu

CEO and co-founder of ControlHQ, and previously CEO and founder of Grow Technologies (exit 2019). Active angel investor, board member and strategic advisor. Geriatric Millennial. Fan of dad jokes and pizza.

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